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Point of Order

Volume 638: debated on Thursday 29 March 2018

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. A number of written statements are published in today’s Order Paper, and I understand that for the convenience of Members, such statements are normally published at the start of the day, or at least as close to the start of the day as possible. My office has been chasing the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for the promised update on social housing, but I understand that it was eventually published at around 4 o’clock this afternoon. That does not seem to be good for the convenience of Members.

Yes, it is profoundly inconvenient. The short answer to the hon. Gentleman is that there is no prescribed time, but it is commonplace, and has come to be expected by Members, that such statements should be issued much earlier in the day. For such a statement to be issued so late in the day is regrettable, and arguably discourteous to the House; for it to be issued so late in the day on the last day of term, and when the House will not sit again for more than a fortnight is, shall we say, doubly unfortunate.

There are three Whips on the Treasury Bench. On the assumption that they will want to make themselves useful in some way or another—I feel sure that they will—they will doubtless relay this matter to a higher authority and the recurrence of this phenomenon will be averted. [Interruption.] Two of them have told me from a sedentary position that they agree. I look in the direction of the third. A simple nod of the head will suffice. [Interruption.] All five Government Members on the Treasury Front Bench agree. Unanimity has broken out on the Treasury Bench! Well, the hon. Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman) has greater power than he knows.

On that happy note, I thank the hon. Gentleman not just for his point of order but for all he does on a regular basis, including, I may say, deputising for the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee, which he has done extremely conscientiously. I think that that is appreciated in all parts of the House.